TIFF Honoring Brendan Fraser for His Performance in ‘The Whale’

The Toronto Film Festival will present Fraser with a tribute award honoring his career-comeback turn in Darren Aronofsky's latest.
Canadian-US actor Brendan Fraser attends the premiere of "No Sudden Move" during the 2021 Tribeca Festival at Battery Park on June 18, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
Brendan Fraser
AFP via Getty Images

Nineties icon Brendan Fraser is making a career-comeback turn with his performance as a 600-pound man in Darren Aronofsky’s drama “The Whale.” As the A24 release heads into the fall season with turns at major festivals like Venice and Toronto, the latter is honoring the actor with a Tribute Award for Performance on September 11.

With a career spanning more than three decades, Fraser has received recognition for his work by both critics and fellow actors, from starring in indie films to heading up “The Mummy” franchise. Notably, Fraser has dual Canadian-American citizenship.

Also receiving a TIFF Tribute Award this year will be the cast of “My Policeman,” including Harry Styles and Emma Corrin.

“Brendan Fraser gives a performance of staggering depth, power, and nuance in ‘The Whale,’” said Cameron Bailey, TIFF CEO, in a press statement. “This former Torontonian has been an action star, a screen comic, and a romantic lead. We’re thrilled to welcome him home as the actor behind one of the finest performances of the year.”

Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale” tells the story of a reclusive English teacher living with severe obesity who attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption. The A24 film is based on the acclaimed play by Samuel D. Hunter and also stars Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins, and Samantha Morton. It is being distributed in Canada by Elevation Pictures.

“It’s gonna be like something you haven’t seen before,” Fraser told Unilad in 2021 about the film. “That’s really all I can tell you. The wardrobe and costume was extensive, seamless, cumbersome. This is certainly far removed from anything I’ve ever done but not to be coy. I do know it’s going to make a lasting impression.”

Past recipients honored in the acting category at TIFF were Jessica Chastain and Benedict Cumberbatch in 2021; Kate Winslet and Sir Anthony Hopkins in 2020; and Meryl Streep and Joaquin Phoenix in 2019.

Also joining the list of 2022 TIFF Tribute Award honorees Academy Award-winning filmmaker Sam Mendes who will be receiving the TIFF Ebert Director Award. The TIFF Tribute Awards have served as an awards-season bellwether.

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